It’s 3.00 am when a 55 yo man is accompained to the ED by his wife because of sudden onset precordial pain, he has not clinical history, he does not smoke and he has an active life style, you find a normal blood pressure and clinical examination and a normal ECG, but the pain is severe and continuos. The patient start sweating, and you too. You give morfine and start thinking about….AORTA! you don’t find any pulse difference, but your feeling increases, how can you explain your feeling to the radiologist? 
Can something else help you to rule-out aortic dissection….
The presence of pulse deficits or focal neurological deficits increases the likelihood of an acute thoracic aortic dissection in the appropriate clinical setting. Conversely, a completely normal chest radiograph result or the absence of pain of sudden onset lowers the likelihood. Overall, however, the clinical examination is insufficiently sensitive to rule out aortic dissection given the high morbidity of missed diagnosis.
A negative D-dimer (<500) can rule-out an aortic dissection.
Unfortunately a positive test does not give any additional chance to persuade radiologist…
Epidemiology of thoracic aortic dissection. LeMaire SA, Russell L. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2011 Feb;8(2):103-13. Epub 2010 Dec 21.
Does this patient have an acute thoracic aortic dissection? Klompas M. JAMA. 2002 May 1;287(17):2262-72.
Meta-analysis of usefulness of d-dimer to diagnose acute aortic dissection.Shimony A, Filion KB, Mottillo S, Dourian T, Eisenberg MJ. Am J Cardiol. 2011 Apr 15;107(8):1227-34. Epub 2011 Feb 4.
D-dimer in ruling out acute aortic dissection: a systematic review and prospective cohort study. Eur Heart J. 2007 Dec;28(24):3067-75. Epub 2007 Nov 6. Sodeck G, Domanovits H, Schillinger M, Ehrlich MP, Endler G, Herkner H, Laggner A.
D-dimer as the sole screening test for acute aortic dissection: a review of the literature. Sutherland A, Escano J, Coon TP. Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Oct;52(4):339-43.

Diagnostic and prognostic value of circulating D-Dimers in patients with acute aortic dissection. Ohlmann P, Faure A, Morel O, Petit H, Kabbaj H, Meyer N, Cheneau E, Jesel L, Epailly E, Desprez D, Grunebaum L, Schneider F, Roul G, Mazzucotteli JP, Eisenmann B, Bareiss P. Crit Care Med. 2006 May;34(5):1358-64. 

Ilenia Spallino

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>